National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Washington

Supreme Court weighs a church's right to advertise services

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The Supreme Court on Monday considered a tiny church's curbside sign in a case that could raise the bar on government regulation of speech and make it easier for houses of worship to advertise their services.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, the advocacy group that represents Pastor Clyde Reed and his Good News Community Church, bills the case, Reed v. Town of Gilbert, as a religious rights case. But their attorney mostly argued it on free speech grounds.

Franciscan leader in black Catholic ministry named New Orleans auxiliary bishop

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Pope Francis has named Franciscan Fr. Fernand "Ferd" Cheri III, a New Orleans native who currently is director of campus ministry at Quincy University in Illinois, as an auxiliary bishop of the New Orleans archdiocese.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States, announced the appointment Monday.

Cheri, who turns 63 on Jan. 28, has a background that includes extensive roles in black Catholic liturgy, music and spirituality, in addition to having served on the Franciscans' provincial council and as their director of friar life.

Pope Francis continues to take 'the world by storm'

During the second year of his pontificate, Pope Francis was still feeling the love, and not just from Catholics or those from his homeland of Argentina.

A Pew Research Center study released Dec. 11 showed that the pope has broad support across much of the world. Sixty percent of the 43 nations polled had a positive view of the pontiff.

And Americans, in particular, have shown their fondness for Francis, often extolling his simplistic style. According to the Pew study, 78 percent of Americans view the pope favorably.

Indianapolis auxiliary bishop appointed to head Vermont diocese

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Pope Francis has named Auxiliary Bishop Christopher Coyne of Indianapolis to head the diocese of Burlington, Vt.

Coyne, 56, succeeds Bishop Salvatore Matano, who was installed in January 2013 as the ninth bishop of Rochester, N.Y.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States, announced the appointment Monday in Washington.

Executions drop to lowest level in two decades

Driven in part by continuing legal disputes related to lethal injection drugs and state moratoriums on the death penalty, the 35 people executed in the U.S. this year marks the fewest in two decades, according to a year-end report by the Death Penalty Information Center.

The center, which opposes capital punishment, also found that the 72 death sentences issued in 2014 represents the fewest in 40 years.

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